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Drilldown: Cases

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Page name Sentence Summary
R v Tunstill (2018) EWCA Crim 1696

Infanticide wrongly withdrawn from jury

"This was a case where the child was killed soon after birth so that this case can be distinguished from the situation where mental ill health, usually post-partum psychosis, develops over a period of time. Nonetheless, there was evidence from Dr Bashir and Dr Khisty which showed that notwithstanding the existence of the appellant's pre-birth mental disorder, the effects of giving birth had led to a further condition, characterised by Dr Bashir as an acute stress reaction which was a causative factor in disturbing the balance of the appellant's mind. The issue of causation is a matter of fact for a jury after appropriate direction from a judge as to what can constitute a legally effective cause. For the reasons given, we consider that the effects of birth are not required by s.1(1) to be the sole cause of a disturbance of balance of the mind. In the circumstances, we are persuaded that the judge should not have withdrawn infanticide from the jury. There was evidence fit for the jury's consideration. It is not for this court to assess the likelihood of its success. Dr Barlow's evidence was to the contrary, but the issue for us is whether a jury should have had this alternative option to consider. We think it should have had that opportunity. In the circumstances, therefore, the conviction for murder is unsafe and the verdict is quashed. In our judgment, the interests of justice require a re-trial and we so order."

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